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Dogs fighting - food related

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by Jugsmalone, Apr 11, 2011.

  1. Jugsmalone

    Jugsmalone PetForums VIP

    Apr 11, 2011
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    I have two male dogs 1 has been neutered(11 year old cross staffie) and the other hasnt (2 year old american bulldog) they have had three fights in the past year over rawhide bones. they do not fight over anything else.

    The staffie used to be in a pack up until 2006 when sadly my other dog (male) died he has been on his own up until 2010. this dog did not have any previous issues with food guarding, toy guarding etc. but now we have another dog that we have had for a year he snales and growls at him if he comes need his food (doesnt attack). I do take the food off him when he does this but he still has food guarding issues. I dont leave food down for him I only give him the food when he actually wants to eat it.

    When they have rawhide bones i sit in the room with them until the bones have been consumed, however, i was distracted last week and forgot and there was a fight and the staffie had to see a vet.

    My question is will I be able to modify the staffies behaviour and how? or would it just be best to give them bones and food in seperate rooms?

    The staffie is also taking steriods for a severe skin contact allergy.
  2. astraldream

    astraldream PetForums Member

    Apr 3, 2011
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    My first thing would be to say, dont take anything from your dog if it is resource guarding. The reason why the dog is growling is because its worried its lovely treat will be taken away....then along comes someone and takes it off him which reinforces what he thought!!

    If it was me, i would feed in seperate places. How about they both go in a crate (if you use one) with a blanket around the top so they cant eyeball each other?
  3. Irish Setter Gal

    Irish Setter Gal PetForums Senior

    Mar 17, 2011
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    As already mentioned - you have merely confirmed the dogs fears by removing the food thus creating a increasing cycle of guarding that can only escalate.

    You have answered your own question I believe.
  4. Sled dog hotel

    Sled dog hotel PetForums VIP

    Aug 11, 2010
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    For safetys sake, it may be best if you feed and give any edible treats and bones entirely separate. As the other poster suggested maybe even consider a crate.

    Taking the food off the staff possibly isnt the best idea, it just re-inforces that he needs to guard it because its going to be taken away. To his mind he needs to guard his resources from the other dog, growling is a warning to tell the other dog its mine, If the other dog backs off, then you could possibly have found that this would be the end of it. If the other dog doesnt heed the warning and doesnt back off and persists, then you will find the staff will go to bite. Like wise if the other dog, will go to full challenge to take it the staff will then likely fight back. If you take the bone every time he growls, at the other dog, you will likely find he will do it even more, if he is pushed too far you may find he wont even bother with the verbal warning of growling and just go straight to launching himself at the dog in a bite.

    When any of mine have had steroids, even a short term course, I have found they drink more and are always hungry as it stimulates thirst and hunger usually as a side effect. This might be making him worse. I think but you would have to check, steroid use has also been known to affect dogs behaviour too, in the way of making them more snappy. Under the circumstances I would say, play safe and feed and give anything edible entirely separately to be on the safe side.
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